Double Feature

November 2019 - After a summer in which I managed to see three movies in the theater, I've reverted to not seeing any movies at all. But, I do have a list. I want to see Knives Out, due out around Thanksgiving. And, at some point, I hope to see Hustlers, which has earned Jennifer Lopez some good reviews. Here's the lowdown on two of J-Lo's earlier efforts.

In 2005, she squared off against Jane Fonda in Monster-in-Law, a PG-13 romcom. Lopez plays Charlie, a clothing designer who makes ends meet by doing a series of temp jobs including dog walker and receptionist at a doctor's office. One day, while walking dogs, she literally runs into Kevin, a hunky doctor played by Michael Vartan. They meet again when Charlie serves hors d'oeuvres at a party Kevin is hosting. After that, he seeks her out, they start dating and they move in together.

Then, it's time to meet Kevin's mom, Viola (Fonda). She's a Barbara Walters-type host of a TV show who went off the deep-end after learning she was being replaced by a younger woman. Viola likes Charlie well enough until Kevin suddenly proposes. After that, the war is on, with Viola trying to drive Charlie away and Charlie fighting to keep her man.

Overall review: Ehhh, it was OK. This film is about 90-minutes long, but it seemed longer. Lopez got top billing, but this movie is all about Fonda. She plays her character over-the-top and does it over and over. There's not really a lot to like about her. Wanda Sykes practically steals the film as Viola's sassy assistant, and Elaine Strich upstages Fonda in a small but pivotal role as Viola's own monster-in-law.

Five years later, Lopez was tasked with carrying another romcom, The Back-up Plan. But, even Lopez's star power isn't enough to save this PG-13 film.

Lopez plays Zoe, a single woman who gave up a career in high finance to run a pet store in New York City. Now that she has a job she loves, she wants a family. The original plan was to find a nice guy and settle down. But, since that hasn't happened, Zoe turns to her back-up plan (get it?), artificial insemination.

Of course, as soon as Zoe finds out that the procedure worked, she just happens to meet a cheese maker named Stan, (Alex O'Loughlin), a guy who could just be "the one." With plan B already in motion, is it too late to revert to plan A? Well, what do you think? Did I mention "cheese?"

Overall review: Ehhh, it was (barely) OK. I watched this movie on a Sunday and, as I recall, I thought it would be a decent way to kill time before the program I really wanted to watch came on. Well, not so much, as it turns out. At one point, I took a break from the movie to consider whether I needed a back-up plan of my own. Ultimately, I did finish watching the movie. But, it's utterly predictable. The few moments that aren't predictable aren't enough to move this movie beyond mediocre.